Dr Sue Mayes AM
Role: Director of Artistic Health, Principal Physiotherapist and Adjunct Research Fellow at La Trobe University
Year started: 1997
Where are you based?
My primary residence is the Artistic Health hub at the Ballet Centre in Melbourne, but I travel with the dancers around Australia and internationally.
What does your job involve?
My day begins on my drive in, where I start to collect my thoughts and prepare for what’s ahead. As soon as I arrive at work, the Artistic Health team has a 15-minute meeting where we plan our day. We’re all super-busy for the one hour before class. It’s our time to check on injuries that the dancers might be carrying, or to assess or advise on little niggles – suggesting modifications for the dancers to take into class and rehearsals.
While everyone’s busy in class, we’ll work with the few injured dancers who can’t join class and catch up on our administration. I spend the rest of my day working handson with the dancers, helping to relieve fatigued muscles, mobilising stiff joints and designing exercise programs. It’s really important that we don’t just concentrate on the dancers’ physical health; we also support with their mental health and wellbeing and set up additional support from our Performance and Lifestyle Advisor if required.
We also meet weekly with the Artistic Director and Artistic team to discuss the status of injured dancers, so they can accommodate them in rehearsals and performances. Apart from working directly with the dancers, I also lead our research partnership with La Trobe University and ensure we investigate clinically relevant issues that will improve our dancers’ health and wellbeing.